The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Cook County Illinois plans giant health cuts

Feb 5, 2007

There have been a number of protest rallies in Chicago against the new plan to cut back on neighborhood health facilities.

The newly elected Democratic Party president of the Cook County Board, Todd Stroger, is proposing to close 16 clinics that serve some of the poorest neighborhoods in the county. Obviously, if the county closes these clinics, the consequences would be dire. Many won’t be able to make the trip to the few clinics and hospitals still available. And those who do will face much longer waits and worse health care.

At the same time, the cutbacks would eliminate all dental services in the county system. It goes way beyond the care of teeth, since dental care often uncovers oral cancers, hypertension, HIV/AIDS and other serious diseases.

The reason for these proposed cutbacks is not a lack of money. The state didn’t turn over 243 million dollars of Medicare money to the county. The state’s own web site shows it gave 1.2 billion dollars in subsidies to corporations over 14 years.

The money is there. If people want to stop these cuts in health services, they have to be organized and forceful.